Intel announced today that it's set to invest $100 million over the next five years into U.S. university research.
Starting with Stanford University, Intel executives are looking to create Intel Science and Technology Centers at six or seven different universities. Previously, Intel's research funds have gone to Intel scientists working at university centers.
With this new funding program, more of the money will go to faculty and graduate student research, said Justin Rattner, Intel's CTO.
"We're going to spend five times what we had spent in terms of direct university support," Rattner told Computerworld. "This is a time when universities are really strapped for funding. They're all being hit with major budget cuts and this is consistent with Intel's view of investing in the down part of the cycle. We saw an opportunity to help the universities recover."
Each university will be tasked with a specific area of research. Stanford University, for instance, will focus on users' visual computing experiences. Rattner said he's open to hearing about various university research ideas but he's expecting that some of the research will focus on perceptual computing, mobile computing and security.
"The pace of technology change is getting faster," he said. "With today's announcement, we are ensuring that Intel Labs' academic research support is adaptable and flexible. Our new approach should allow us to quickly and dynamically invest in the most promising academic work."
Each participating university will receive $2.5 million a year for five years. Rattner noted that after three years, both the academics and Intel executives will sit down and figure out if the research is valuable enough to continue with.
Intel has put a lot of focus on its various research laboratories.
Last July, the company announced the creation of a new research lab dedicated to figuring out how people want to use computers in the future. Dubbed the Interaction and Experience Research lab, it will focus on the way people use, reuse and resist new information and communication technologies.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.